Arne Mehl MD PhD

Senior Consultant in Infectious Diseases Levanger Hospital


On 16 June 2017, Arne Mehl defended his PhD thesis

Bloodstream infection at Levanger Hospital 2002-2013
Incidence, mortality, antimicrobial resistance, antibiotic treatment, and impact of statin prophylaxis.

At Levanger Hospital in Mid-Norway, 1995 episodes of bloodstream infection were registered from 2002 to 2013. The total incidence of bloodstream infections (episodes per 100,000 person-years) increased from 205 in 2002-2007 to 223 in 2008-2013. The incidence of bloodstream infections was highest among elderly men.

The three most common microbes that led to bloodstream infections were Escherichia coli (34.4%), Streptococcus pneumoniae (11.3%) and Staphylococcus aureus (10.9%). Fewer than 5% of the microbes that we found in blood cultures from patients with bloodstream infections were resistant to the combination of antibiotics recommended by Norwegian health authorities for the treatment of sepsis of unknown origin (penicillin and gentamicin, plus metronidazole if an anaerobic infection is suspected). The incidence of resistant microbes was lower than that reported by most other countries.

We investigated whether survival of bloodstream infections could be related to patients’ use of statins, a type of medicine that lowers cholesterol in the blood, but also has anti-inflammatory effects. We found that among patients who had bloodstream infections with Gram-negative bacteria, the percentage who died was 50% lower among those who were using a statin compared with those who were not. Among those who had bloodstream infection with Gram-positive bacteria, however, there was no difference between those who used a statin and those who did not.